Saturday Spotlight – Sharon Freeman

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Chapter: Mid-Atlantic Region / Raleigh/Durham

Member Since: 2011

Motto: “Forward is forward. Speed doesn’t matter.”

Why Did You Join Team RWB?

“The bottom line for me was to honor the memory of my nephew, CPT Joel Gentz, who was KIA in Afghanistan in June, 2010 after a short, 6 weeks on his first deployment as a CRO. My sister, Judy (Joel’s mother), had joined Team RWB in Ann Arbor, MI and she encouraged me to try it. I figured participation would also potentially give Judy and me something else we could do together, on occasion.”

What has Been Your Favorite Event or Experience with Team RWB?

“There is no one event that stands out. My favorite experience with Team RWB is the relational development that has happened in my life. My teammates have become a part of my local family. We support each other at events. We volunteer in our community together. We socialize. My teammates are true friends and regardless of what we do together, we have fun and build each other up. Getting in better shape is my next favorite aspect of being part of the Team. Beginning a fitness program in one’s mid-50s is not the norm in our society and I wouldn’t have found motivation to begin running on a regular basis without the team behind me, encouraging me me along. (OK, sometimes dragging me, kicking and screaming…) I have had few moments when I have felt more accomplished than when I carried Old Glory across a finish line at a 5K or sprint length triathlon, making a personal best. Team RWB has encouraged me to set new fitness goals and enabled me to offer encouragement to others to do the same.”

How do you serve your community?

“As far as the Team RWB community, I am the Community Engagement Director at present. Honestly, I am not sure I fully grasp what that entails. Our leadership team tends to work together in all aspects of community service so it’s no one person’s responsibility to create any one type of group event. While I may focus on events that bring the Team RWB community together for internal engagement and events that engage us with external entities, I also feel free to schedule an athletic event, if an interesting one comes across my radar. For example, most recently, I set up a New Year’s Day walk/run to get folks out and enjoying each other’s company at any skill level. Team RWB in the RDU area covers multiple counties so sometimes we find geographic separation a barrier. It is not unusual to face a 45-60 minute commute to get to a scheduled event. With that in mind, we try to schedule centrally if possible, but I also try to find events on “my side of town” so more Eagles who live near me might come out. One of our greatest challenges is encouraging member participation.”

What Inspires You?

“Quite honestly, my spiritual life is what inspires me. I truly believe in a God that loves me and has my best interest at heart. When I see the blessings I have from Him/Her each day, it inspires me to pass them along. Team RWB is one outlet for this inspiration. There are so many men and women (and their families) who sacrifice greatly to allow me to live the life I live, relatively free of fear and full of freedom, that I want to give back to them some how. Team RWB is one avenue to do just that.”

How Has Team RWB Impacted Your Life?

“First, as I said earlier, Team RWB has brought new friends into my life. I wouldn’t give anything for them. Second is a new level of fitness. While I am no speed demon, I do work out 5 days a week, most weeks. I am 10-15 lb lighter than when I first joined. I miss exercising when life gets in the way. And lastly, a greater appreciation for those who volunteered to join one military branch or another. Where would our nation be if we didn’t have “the 1%”?”

What Would You Say to Someone Who is Thinking of Joining Team RWB?

“Don’t wait! Do it. It’s a great group of folks. That said, I would also strongly encourage them to participate. You don’t receive the benefits if you stay on the side lines.”